The importance of diversity & inclusion in recruitment

We all should know by now that workplace diversity and inclusion is an important issue.

In a diverse workplace, you’ll see a range of different types of people with a range of backgrounds and characteristics that may include, but aren’t limited to, differences in race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, physical ability, and socioeconomic status. Inclusion, meanwhile, is providing everyone with equal access to resources and opportunities, and creating a work environment where all people feel respected and valued.

Diversity is good for business

Why does this matter? Well, for one thing, workplace diversity is good for business. According to research conducted in 2019 by the Wall Street Journal, the 20 most diverse S&P 500 companies performed better financially over five- and ten-year periods than non-diverse companies. Among those top companies was Proctor & Gamble, the CEO of which, David Taylor, said “A diverse team supported by an inclusive environment that values each individual will outperform a homogenous team every time.”

Separate research has found that increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to improved financial performance, greater innovation, and higher profit margins. And companies reporting the highest levels of racial diversity earn nearly 15 times more sales revenue than those with the lowest levels.

Aside from business success, the simple reality is that diversity just makes sense in 2023. The village has gone global and the world’s population is diverse, so workplaces should be too.

And yet, in many industries all over the world, we still find workforces, companies, boards, and senior management teams represented by homogenous groups of people that seem pretty much the same.

Diversity and inclusion in the recruitment sector 

The recruitment sector can have a hand in making a difference to this, and it starts with having a diverse workforce at your own recruitment or staffing company. Here are a few more reasons why diversity and inclusion are important in the recruitment sector:

Diverse recruitment organizations will attract a wider pool of candidates: A focus on diversity and inclusion can help attract a wider pool of applicants from diverse backgrounds, increasing the chances of finding the best candidate for a position.

Representation matters: Out of the two billion members of Generation Z who are growing up and entering the workforce in big numbers, 48% are non-Caucasian, making them the most diverse generation yet (in nations where non-Caucasians have historically been the minority). People want to see themselves represented in a workplace. If they don’t see themselves, they’re going to be less enthusiastic about applying.

Diversity improves candidate experience and builds a better employer brand: A diverse and inclusive recruitment process creates a more relatable and positive candidate experience for everyone. Companies and recruitment agencies that prioritize diversity and inclusion attract talent that values inclusiveness in the workplace, which is a growing number of people. This leaves a lasting impression on job seekers, increasing the likelihood of them recommending the company to others.

Diverse teams increase innovation and creativity: As mentioned, research suggests that diverse teams are more innovative. A workforce from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences will have different perspectives and more creative ideas and solutions to bring to the table, strengthening your recruitment business as a whole.

Promoting diversity and inclusion in the recruitment sector will lead to improved outcomes for companies, candidates, and the industry as a whole.

How to improve diversity at your company or recruitment of staffing firm

Don’t fall into the trap of big talk and lofty goals.

Improving diversity doesn’t happen overnight. We’ve heard stories of large firms setting diversity goals – promising, for example, that an SMT team currently composed of 100% Caucasian men will be 50% women and/or minorities in three years. But these goals can be impossible to reach without firing people who have done nothing wrong or increasing the size of the team, and these unreasonable goals get left almost entirely unmet.

Focus instead on small incremental changes that can have a big impact over time.

Steps include:

  • Auditing your existing workforce and hiring practices and seeing where improvements could be made.
  • Reviewing job descriptions and requirements to ensure they are inclusive and not biased towards certain groups.
  • Expanding the pool of job candidates by actively recruiting from diverse sources.
  • Providing diversity and unconscious bias training for your team and checking your own unconscious bias.
  • Implementing diverse interview panels.
  • Implementing blind resume reviews to reduce unconscious bias in the initial stages of the hiring process.
  • Regularly evaluating and monitoring diversity metrics to track progress and identify areas for improvement.

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